Gift Guide: Littles

We’re not parents yet but we’ve already got a strict no-battery rule.  I don’t do unnecessary noise and I think sticks and rocks are probably the best toys available.  With that being said, here are some traditional, noise-and-battery-free options for the littles in your life.



1//My First Backpack Shark {$28, available here}.  Any little boy would be too cool for school with this backpack.

2//My First Backpack Owl {$28, available here}.  I’m not really into the whole owl thing, but this backpack is sweet.




1//Ammo Box {$59, available here}.  Josh is a huge advocate of having a special place for his treasures.  Little boys need that too.  You can read more about it here.

2//Abigail Small Jewelry Box {$39, available here}.  Pair this gift with an add-a-pearl necklace or engraved bracelet and you’re good to go!


frills1//Jewel Embellished Sweater {$35, available here}.  Soft & sparkly…my favorite combination.

2//Freshwater Pearl Necklace {$80, available here}.  Watching a little girl receive her first set of pearls is such a special sight.  In the South, it’s something that’s often passed down from mother to daughter.  Begin a new tradition in your family!



1//Classic Swiss Army Knife {$16, available here}.  It goes without saying that this is probably not a responsible gift for toddlers or wild little heathen children.

2//Melissa & Doug Wooden Take-Along Tool Kit {$14, available here}.  I adore Melissa & Doug products and this is the quintessential boy toy.  Yes, it makes noise, but it also builds appropriate free-play skills.

Gizmos & Gadgets:  If you’re going to get your child an iPad, by all means, get your child an iPad.  Whatever keeps the peace when you’re going over the river and through the woods, am I right?




1//Melissa & Doug Jacks {$9.99, available here}.  Hours {okay, maybe minutes}, of quiet entertainment!

2//Bicycle Playing Cards {$4.50, available here}.  Teach your kids how to play your favorite card game.  We love Spades!

3//Fruit {free from your pantry}.  If getting an orange for Christmas is good enough for Laura Ingalls, it’s good enough for all of us.  Amen.






Gift Guide: Him

Shopping for men is frustrating and difficult.  I’m fairly feminine in my taste preferences and the world of masculine things is nearly foreign to me.  With some help, I’ve compiled a list of gifts perfect for the men in your life.


bags1//Topo Designs Klettersack {$169, available here}.  American made, heavy-duty, and perfect for the mountain man in your life.

2//Sons of Trade Tactical Tote {$139, available here}.  The ultimate weekender bag.  This tote can become a backpack in seconds.


boxes1//Birchbox for Men {$20 per month, available here}.  Josh uses this service and loves it.  He’s a product junkie and he loves funky socks, cool tech accessories, and he likes trying new things.  This subscription service is perfect for the cool, hip dude in your life.

2//Hornady Ammo Box {$36, available here}.  I surprised Josh with this ammo box for Christmas one year and it’s been the best gift I ever got him.  He keeps all his bullets, smaller weaponry, and special things {love letters, things that belonged to his great-grandfather, cufflinks, etc.} inside.  It also helps that his favorite president is engraved on the top.


Thrills1//Skydiving {prices vary, locations vary}.  The ultimate thrill seeker on your gift list would die over a skydiving package.

2//Bear Grylls Survival Gear {prices vary, available here}.  Josh is nuts about BG’s products.  He owns several of the knives and survival kits.  He’s also read several of Bear’s books {also available on the link}.

Gizmos & Gadgets:

gizmos1//iPad Mini w/Retina Display {$399, available here}.  Does this really need an explanation?  Candy Crush to the max, man.

2//LSTN Cherry Wood Earbuds {$50, available here}.  Josh received these in his November Birchbox.  Each pair of earbuds is made from reclaimed wood and for every pair purchased, LSTN restores hearing to a person in need through the Starkey Hearing Foundation.


stuffers1//Jack Black’s Beard Lube {$17, available here}.  Josh’s wrestlers gave him this stuff last year at the end of the season.  He’s nuts about it.  It’s a bit pricey for shaving cream, but it works so well.  Sometimes when he’s not looking, I use it to shave my legs.

2//Grandpa’s Pine Tar Soap {$5.39, available here}.  This stuff smells like our cellar but Josh loves it.

3//J.Crew Socks {$14.50, available here}.  Mr. C has this passion for printed socks that only George H.W. Bush can understand.  J.Crew has the cutest prints and the comfiest socks around.

What are you buying for the men in your life this year?









Gift Guide 2013–Her

I love dreaming up an awesome gift guide.  I love gift giving {and receiving} and the more thoughtful the gift, the better.  Here are our picks for the lovely ladies in your life.


Bags1//Longchamp Le Pliage Medium Tote {$125, available here}.  I have this bag and I adore it.  It’s available in a ton of colors, maintenance is a cinch, it’s easy to travel with, and you can cram so much into it that you feel like Mary Poppins.

2//The Classic Cambridge Satchel, 13″ {$177, available here}.  I lust after this bag on a weekly basis.  At 13″, it would hold an iPad and you can have it embossed.  I die.


boxes3//Elizabeth & Clarke Subscription {$30 per month, available here}.  This subscription service is perfect for the lady who loves to shop.  Every three months {the beginning of each season}, a box of shirt{s} is delivered to your door.  Wear them for as long as you like, mail them back, and wait for something new.

4//Birchbox Subscription {$10 per month, available here}.  This subscription service is perfect for the product junkie in your life.  After completing a survey, Birchbox mails you a set of personalized beauty & hair products based on your results.  Josh uses this service {for men} and loves it.


frills5//J.Crew Statement Necklace {$48.50, available here}.  J.Crew is the best at statement jewelry.  I blew most of my November Christmas budget on statement pieces for my Mama, MIL, and sisters-in-law and they. are. gorgeous.  If you’re shopping for a lady who loves bling, click here.

6//Corilynne Riding Skirt {$75, available here}.  Cori is one of my favorite bloggers.  She has her own clothing line that is both modest and fabulous.  The prices seem steep, but it’s American-made, right?  Check out her blog here.

Gizmos & Gadgets:

gizmos7//Lilly Pulitzer iPhone 5 Cover {$28, available here}.  Fun, flirty, and functional.  Available in several adorable patterns.

8//Kate Spade Carousel Bangle {$250, available here}.  This watch would literally match everything in her closet.

Stocking Stuffers:

stuffers1//Essie Nail Polish {prices vary, order here}.  I love Essie polishes.  If it’s good enough for Kate Middleton, it’s good enough for me.  

2//Smith’s Rosebud Salve {$6, order here}.  This is my most favorite beauty product of all time.  I don’t leave the house without it and it would totally be on my desert island list.

3//J.Crew Pinball Stud Earrings {$11, order here}.  These are just plain adorable.

Atlas, Three Months

We’re exactly one month into owning a puppy.  I won’t lie and say it’s been this glorious, enlightening experience.  Training a puppy is hard work.  We did everything right…we read the manuals, watched the training videos, puppy-proofed the farmhouse…and we were still totally unprepared for Atlas.  In the beginning, it was easy to see why so many people {especially in our age bracket} almost immediately give up and find a new home for their baby.  There were several late nights and many frustrating moments where we both secretly contemplated going back to our simple, pre-puppy existence.


Then, just when we became terribly desperate, Atlas slept through the night.  To two sleep-deprived, slightly crazed, zombie-like adults, that full night of sleep was like a miracle elixir.  From that point on, Atlas began sleeping through the night every night.  He also started to show us that our constant nagging, “Sit!  Stay!  Don’t chew on that!” had finally started to sink in.  Top that off with the fact that he’s crate-trained, and we were weeping with relief.


And good grief, how could you say no to this face?  At the end of the day after we’ve eaten and he’s eaten, we all pile up on the couch {while the cats glare at us} and snuggle until bedtime.  Obedience School begins next weekend and we’ve already been told that we have a smart boy on our hands.


We’ve finally got a handle on his personality—he’s jovial and spunky.  He loves peanut butter and giving kisses.  He’s fond of one particular corner of the couch and he enjoys bath time until he has to be rinsed.  He also has an obsession with sticks, licking the cats, and ripping the heads off his toys.  He’s happy when we’re home and sad when we leave.  Other than his nasty grown-man farts, we’re in love with our sweet, sweet boy.

What about you?  Do you have any advice for new puppy parents?



A Southern Thanksgiving


Is it any surprise that I’m a holiday junkie?  On August 1st, I’m known as the-girl-who-buys-all-the-pumpkins-at-Bilo and on November 1st I transform into the-girl-who-listens-to-Christmas-music-until-Epiphany.  Because we have a tiny farmhouse and we are without children, Thanksgiving gets a bit lost in the shuffle.  We’re back and forth between Georgia and North Carolina every year and while I enjoy visiting with family, I’d love nothing more than to host a Southern Thanksgiving of my own someday.

I am a very detail-oriented person.  That’s what I love most about Thanksgiving…you can serve a green bean dish and everyone will be satisfied…or you could serve a green bean dish with seared garlic and pancetta and everyone will stop and wonder.  Here are a few of my very favorite Southern Thanksgiving dishes and decorating tips.

Is there anything that screams Thanksgiving like autumnal decor?

And let us not forget the humble Thanksgiving dessert…

What about you?  Are you dying to throw your own Thanksgiving bash or do you think I’m nuts?